In 2022, the issue of health disparities had a higher profile than ever before. Now, there is reason to hope for significant change, spurred by heightened awareness of racial discrimination in medicine. There is a demand throughout the nation for everyone in the health care industry, from government agencies to life sciences companies, to work together to bridge the gap in health inequities. And no one is driving this demand more than healthcare providers (HCP).
HCPs see firsthand that their underserved and underrepresented patients have their own unique needs which are not being met by the healthcare system. According to a study conducted by AnswerSuite, HCPs want the life sciences industry to increase resources, support them and meet the patients where they are. They understand that nothing is as important to bridging the healthcare inequalities as clear and regular communication with their patients. Interviews with HCPs from across the country revealed three key takeaways of how improved communication between HCPs and patients can help bridge health disparities.
- Speaking Their Language. With 67 million people living in America not speaking English as their first language, availability of materials in native languages is important. Eighty-nine percent of HCPs believe that patient compliance would increase if biopharma manufacturers provided their practice with enhanced materials which include content in patients native language and international symbols with simplified language.
- Using the Appropriate Tools. Technology usage is at an all-time high, but many underserved populations do not have adequate internet access, making it difficult for this population to benefit from these advancements Making phone options available or receiving paper forms prior to appointments would allow for more meaningful interactions between patients and providers in the office. Printed materials and phone accessibility are still vital for many underserved patient populations.
- Ongoing Education. Education is not just vital for patients, it is essential for HCPs as well. Continuing to engage and inform HCPs, patients and their caregivers about the latest treatments, available clinical trials and disease state trends would benefit underserved populations who need the most support. By ensuring that the caregivers for these communities are knowledgeable about the issues that they are more likely to face means that these communities will receive better treatment.
By working with HCPs to improve communication with underserved and underrepresented patient populations, life science companies can help bridge these inequities and make a difference in the lives of people who for too long were ignored by the healthcare system.
If you are looking to better understand the importance of health equity in the healthcare industry, you can read the thought leadership of Syneos Health experts on Insights Hub.
Vice President, Syneos Health Strategy